How your gut feeling helps you guess other's intentions

A new study has demonstrated the laws that govern intuitions that help guessing other's intentions and how these intuitions and how efficient they are for anticipating the behaviour of other people.

ANI| Last Updated: Dec 05, 2014, 15:43 PM IST

Washington: A new study has demonstrated the laws that govern intuitions that help guessing other's intentions and how these intuitions and how efficient they are for anticipating the behaviour of other people.

Jean Daunizeau and colleagues from INSERM and CNRS have combined mathematical modelling, experimental psychology and behavioural economics to measure the sophistication of human 'mentalizing'.

The researchers asked participants to play repeated games against artificial (Bayesian) 'mentalizing' agents, which differ in their sophistication. Critically, the participants were told that they were either playing against each other, or that they were gambling without any in-the-flesh opponent, like in a casino. The results show that participants won against the artificial 'mentalizing' agents when the game was socially framed, and lost in the non-socially framed games.

This study demonstrates that 'mentalizing' enables humans to guess how others learn about themselves, even in the absence of any explicit communication. This mental skill increases the chances of success in the context of repeated competitive social interactions.

The study was published in PLOS Computational Biology.